The installation is suspended from a concrete block wall that looks onto a large parking lot for a new YMCA in the Montreal borough of Cartierville. The building was designed by Daoust Lestage Inc.
The sizeable dimension of this environment and the prosaic activity that takes place within it required a spatial gesture that could somehow assert presence and challenge preconceived notions of where and therefore how to look at art.
Mirroring and stripes :
Towards this end, the work reflects its ever-changing context, by making use of glass panels comprising a delicate filigree of transparent and mirrored stripes. This creates a sense of uniformity and a maximum of visual complexity. The density of the pattern has a fine grain that also minimises views through the glass. All of this has the effect of fragmenting the reflections, creating what one could think of as a stripe painting that transforms itself in “real time”.
The glass panels are tilted downward at a 16 degree angle so that viewers may see themselves and their context reflected in the glass from up close and at a distance. People, cars, colour, etc become part of and therefore performers in the work.
The length of the long glass wall folds inwards at its centre. This creates a welcoming gesture that further gathers the viewer into the work. It also creates an effect of reflection upon reflection.
The work is lit in the evening by the ambient light provided by lamp standards. It will also be lit and transformed by intermittent flashes of blinking light originating from automobile head lights.
Ultimately then, Papillon proposes an unpredictable optical experience that is particularly sensitive to a context not normally associated with art. Due to changing conditions of natural and artificial light, the shifting of the clouds, rain and snow as well as the movement of cars and people, the work transforms itself throughout the day, evenings and seasons. It is understood via one’s movement through space in “real time”.